Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have many alumni playing at the collegiate and professional levels. However, many of those college seasons have run their course, and professional seasons are beginning to wind down. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have highlights to deliver to you, here is our weekly Alumni Recap.
The best freshman goaltender in NCAA Division 1 hockey this season has been Dryden McKay. Despite allowing two goals to Bowling Green during the WCHA Championship game this past weekend, the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks rallied to win 3-2 in overtime. McKay’s record now sits at 24-6-2 with a 1.66 GAA, a .931 SV%, and 4 shutouts. The Downers Grove, IL native was named a Semi-Finalist for the Mike Richter Award handed out annually to the most outstanding goaltender in Division 1 hockey, McKay was the only freshman nominated.
McKay and eight other alumni will be competing in the NCAA Tournament set to start this weekend. Tommy Nappier will look to show that Ohio State’s loss in the Big Ten tournament was a fluke as they play the University of Denver. Nappier’s 12-3-3 record with a 1.91 GAA and .934 SV % helped him nab the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year Award as well as being named a Semi-Finalist for the Mike Richter Award.
On the opposing bench will be a number of Jr. Blues alumni as Denver has four players who spent time here in Springfield, IL. Devin Cooley, Les Lancaster, Erich Fear, and Michael Corson are all current players on the Pioneers roster with Lancaster and Fear both having played the most out of the group this season.
Quinnipiac is set to take on Arizona State in the Sun Devils NCAA Tournament debut, and two Jr. Blues alumni will be there. TJ Friedmann and Matthew Cassidy both are currently on the Quinnipiac roster; Friedmann has 3 goals and 4 assists on the season while Cassidy has yet to find the scoresheet.
Bowling Green hero Sam Craggs will look to lead the Falcons past Minnesota Duluth in their opening round matchup. Craggs has 8 goals on the season including a double overtime game-winning goal against Northern Michigan to send Bowling Green to the WCHA Championship game. And moving full circle, McKay and the Mavericks will play the Providence Friars to start the tournament.
As we switch to professional we take a look at the ECHL. Alex Jaeckle notched his first professional point with an assist in the Norfolk Admirals 5-3 win over the Jacksonville Icemen last friday. Jaeckle is now the 8th alumni to score his first professional point this season, (Olsson, Crowley, Hovanec, Lammon, Kalter, and the Klima brothers).